Big Country Audubon Society

Big Country Blog

Stubborn Mama

Bluebird on Nest

And you think your job is boring? Try being a bluebird mama, sitting on eggs, day after day waiting for them to hatch. It will take this female bluebird approximately two weeks to incubate her eggs. Only the female developes a brood patch, an area of skin on the belly where there are extra blood vessels and no feathers. The eggs come in direct contact with the brood patch and this keeps the eggs at just the right temperature so they’ll develop properly. The male does not develop this patch, he gets to stand guard at the nest box and feed the female. She’ll only leave for a few brief periods of time to forage for food.

If you’re wondering how I got this picture, it’s because the mama didn’t fly when I opened the box to inspect it. I moved a small mirror into the box mere inches above her head and clicked the camera as she stared at me and hunkered down further into her nest. I know she has at least three eggs and she might have more. But I probably won’t know how many unless I find her away from the nest the next time I’m out to monitor. Of course you want to see more pictures, so click here.